You might have noticed that the Festival of Lights is called Tihar in Nepal. This is unfortunate, because that is also the name of the notoriously famous prison in Delhi from which The Serpent broke out after knocking his guards unconscious with sleeping pills.
Be that as it may, and whatever, Nepal is also the land of Pashupatinath, the Lord of Animals. And unlike Dasain when we decapitate animals and eat them, in Tihar we worship our furry and feathered friends.
Dogs are gods and crows are divine on 4 November, cows are holy all year round, and all sisters are living goddesses on 6 Nov. And there is even a day set aside for people to worship themselves, if they feel so inclined.
Nepal would not be the same without its diverse flora and fauna. I don’t want to name names here, but there are quite a few skunks and hyenas loose in Singha Darbar which give this country its unique character and aroma. Snakes are loose in the Supremo Court, and there are creepy crawlies in both the Upper and Lower Chambers of the August House.
Moving on to the Class Aves, we notice that there is now a severe shortage of doves in the city. So many of them have been symbolically released on the International Day of Peace, that politicians have been forced to switch to releasing chickens which have symbolically refused to fly off, and have had to be turned into drumsticks.
But if there is one animal that deserves to be called the Nepalis’ best friend, it is the mutt. This year, Dog Day coincides with the Annual Mating Season, which is why dogs and bitches can be seen staging public interactions at Baneswore intersection, with people milling around to provide moral support and to cheer them on.
Speaking on the occasion, a Sitting Member of the Standing Committee of the United-Marxist-Leninists said: “What our amorous canine comrades are doing today sets a fine example for the rest of us in our party to stand back-to-back, stick to each other, and wait for speedy disengagement.”
What all this shagging means, of course, is that in the next three months the torch will be passed on to another generation of puppies which we will have to worship next Kukur Tihar. We must thank these canine security guards who ensure safety in these uncertain times by howling all night at the world in general, and no one in particular.
No commemoration of Tihar will be complete without a passing reference to the city’s cattle population. After being venerated, cows and bulls out of a sense of duty will be back on the nation’s highways, chewing the cud and serving as traffic islands.
In conclusion, I would like to once more thank the livestock, poultry and canine sectors for their contribution to making this festival so much fun. But lest we be accused of being speciest, next year we also want an Ass Tihar so we can also wear and eat our own marigold garlands.